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YouTube Video: The Power of Geospatial Literacy for Space, Earth Observation, and Education

RCGS Fellows work continuously to support geographic education within Canada’s education systems, supported by the community of academia, government, and industry.

 “Canadian Perspectives: The Power of Geoliteracy for Space, Earth Observation, and Education,” was produced by a committee of RCGS Fellows:  Jonathan Murphy, Dr. Lynn Moorman (RCGS Governor), Paul VanZant (Chair of Canadian Geographic Education), and Peggy March as part of GeoIgnite, Canada’s premier geospatial conference which was held virtually from April 14-28.

The larger event of GeoIgnite 2021, conceptualized by Jonathan Murphy of GoGeomatics, www.gogeomatics.ca , generously enabled this three hour section on the role of geoliteracy in education as it relates to geospatial technology.

The seminar, facilitated by Dr. Moorman, and featuring other guests, contained presentations by RCGS Fellows: Dr. Gordon Osinski, Director of the Institute for Earth and Space Exploration at Western University: Dr. Trevor Bell, of Memorial University, and Founding Director of SmartIce; Dave MacLean of Nova Scotia’s Centre of Geographic Sciences, an Esri Canada GIS Centre of Excellence; and Ewan Geddes, of the Toronto District School Board.

Intro and Keynote: Gordon “Oz” Osinski

Lynn Moorman and keynote speaker Gordon Osinski began the session by introducing Geospatial literacy and highlighting its importance in the present but also in history as well. Dr. Gordon “Oz” Osinski is a Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Western Ontario and the Director of the Institute for Earth and Space Exploration at Western and the Canadian Lunar Research Network. Dr. Osinski’s research interests are diverse and interdisciplinary in nature and focuses on understanding the evolution of the surface of the Earth and other planetary bodies as well as the origin and evolution of life.

Navigating a Non-Linear Career Path

Tanya Harrison is a geoscientist who has worked in science and mission operations on multiple NASA Mars missions over the past 13 years, including the Opportunity, Curiosity, and Perseverance rovers, and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Currently she is the Director of Science Strategy at Planet Labs, and in this talk, she outlines how to make the most of a changing career path. She explains her own non-linear journey and offers tips for others.

Earth Through the Cameras of Astronauts and Cosmonauts

Dave MacLean is GIS Faculty at the Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) in Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia, a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and co-Director of Esri Canada Centre of Excellence (COGS). In this panel, he shares pictures and maps taken by astronauts on the ISS while discussing mapping techniques. For anyone interested in space, this is a must-watch panel.

SmartICE Presentation

SmartICE is an internationally recognized work that empowers Indigenous communities to adapt to increasingly unpredictable ice conditions. In this talk, Trevor Bell, the Founding Director outlines the project and how geospatial mapping and literacy plays a huge part in equipping the communities with the tools, training, and support they need to tackle changing ice conditions.

Embedding Geoliteracy and Spatial Technologies in the classroom

Using the Ontario Curriculum as an example, Ewan Geddes speaks on how to better incorporate geoliteracy and geospatial technologies into the classroom. In addition to being a Canadian and World Studies teacher, Geddes also served as his Board’s Instructional Leader of Geography and Spatial Technology. He is a longstanding member and a past president of OAGEE, the Ontario Association for Geography and Environmental Education, through which he has facilitated G.I.S. workshops for the TDSB, the Faculty of Education at the University of Toronto, and Ryerson University.

Geographical Perspectives

Geography plays an important role in being a parent and a teacher. Developing geographical perspectives gives a sense of understanding cultural connections and the complexity of building relationships. In this panel, Rola Tibshirani, an Ottawa teacher passionate about applying Integrative Thinking and Design Thinking processes when embracing thinking challenges, outlines the value geospatial literacy has not just for students, but for teachers and parents too.

GIS in Action within Education

In this talk, Melissa Lavoie, a former teacher and current Instructional Designer, outlines the incredibly interesting GIS education projects done by Omushkego youth in northern Ontario. These projects were managed during her time as a GIS Education Specialist with Mushkegowuk Council’s Information Services department and used a lot of the GIS technology you’re familiar with.

Canadian Perspectives Panel

This panel closed out the Canadian Perspectives session at GeoIgnite. Panelists Tanya Harrison, Parshati Patel, Morgan Crowley, Sarah Banks, and moderator Lynn Moorman spoke about their personal ties to geospatial literacy and answered questions on their work.

Watch more panels, keynotes, and talks from GeoIgnite 2021 on our YouTube channel.